While the kings of the Herod dynasty come to an end, the gospel lives on.
Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there. 20 He had been quarreling with the people of Tyre and Sidon; they now joined together and sought an audience with him. After securing the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king, they asked for peace, because they depended on the king’s country for their food supply.
21 On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 22 They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” 23 Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.
24 But the word of God continued to spread and flourish.
The Herods don’t really have a great run in Luke and Acts. They’re as far from a godly king as you can get. In the beginning of Luke, Herod Antipas is so protective of his throne that he slaughters the newborn boys in Israel, not unlike the Pharaoh in Exodus. Then he goes on to kill John the Baptist, and even has a hand in Jesus’ death. His nephew, Herod Agrippa, doesn’t turn out much better here in Acts.
This is the kind of story that seems pretty hard to imagine, because we don’t see stuff happening like this in our time. God delivers timely, poetic justice to Herod, striking him dead on his throne, in front of all the people. He’s considered so lowly that he’s eaten by worms (I’m assuming this happened after he was buried, but maybe God sent some worms into the throne room to eat him right on the spot. Who knows?). Another example of the high being brought low by the great reversal of Jesus’ sacrifice. While Herod ends up rotting in the ground, the gospel sprouts and flowers.
Also, Blastus is such a cool name!
Head: What would have been your reaction to seeing Herod’s end in person?
Heart: What do you think of Herod claiming to be a god?
Hands: What do you think it looks like for the word of God to spread and flourish?
Prayer: Lord, be with us as we let your good news spread and flourish. Because of your will, human kings and rulers are temporary, and all of them are eventually brought low. But your servants receive glory and eternal life. Amen.
A song to listen to: